After decades living in Homer, the Betster can finally admit it. Yours truly has succumbed to birder fever. Consider the evidence: bird nerd sweatshirt by Amanda Brannon, two pairs of binoculars and a spotting scope kept in the Betsterbaru, seven bird guides on the shelf and checklists for the last 15 years of the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival.
The Betster didn’t start out to be a bird nerd. I can clearly recall the first shorebird festival, when the B. scoffed at those birders staring off at little brown dots in a driving rain. A few years later the Betster was one of those people. Rain, schmain, that might just be a red knot out there and OMG it’s a lifer!
Why look at birds? Why look at birds that have flown tens of thousands of miles without stopping over oceans? Why look at birds who see Mud Bay as a glorious invertebrate feast? Why try to decipher distinct feather patterns on a bird 500 yards away through a cheap spotting scope that wiggles in the wind? Because that might be a bristle-thighed curlew and not a whimbrel, although whimbrels are nothing to scoff at, that’s why.
So if you haven’t succumbed to bird fever yet, resistance is futile. Take a few classes. Hang out with some birders. Brave the wind. Squint through binoculars. Dog ear that Sibley’s Guide to Birds. Embrace the art.
It’s spring time, Betsteroids, shorebird weekend, and boy howdy do we have a lot of fun things to do, like these Best Bets:
BEST ALL BIRDS, ALL THE TIME BET: There are a gazillion shorebird festival events, and like the birds, so many events, so little time. Here’s the Betster’s suggestion. Go to the festival headquarters at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, register and pick up the festival guide. Browse through it and plan your weekend. On page 3 we’ve listed some great events that are free beyond the registration fee.
BEST POWER TO THE PEOPLE BET: Homer Electric Association is a member owned electric utility. This year, HEA holds its annual meeting in Homer. The big bash starts with registration at 4:30 p.m. today and the business meeting starts at 6 p.m. Check out booths, grab some grub and sign up for the big grand-prize drawing of 10,000 kilowatt hours of free power.
BEST IN STITCHES BET: No, the Betster isn’t talking about last weekend’s Second City comedy show, which was totally hillarious, but the annual Kachemak Bay Quilters Show. Quilt making is one of Homer’s oldest fiber art forms, which means our local craftspeople have put in some hours perfecting their skills. Check out the show from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at the Homer Elks Lodge.
BEST RUN WITH THE BIRDS BET: Yup, it’s the 14th annual Migration Run, where runners get a little silly and run in bird costumes. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the race is at 9 a.m. Sunday at on the Homer Spit. Proceeds benefit local youth running sports programs. The fee is $20 ages 18 and older, $10 ages 14-17 and $5 for ages 5-13.